Technology innovation at the London Stock Exchange distils and magnifies the business-meets-IT issues and opportunities that exercise all IT professionals.
The context is already dramatic, and it could become much more so. It was not a workaday event for the Bank of England to bail out Northern Rock, whose misfortunes cannot merely be discounted as emanating from the deflating US housing bubble.
What the current volatility in the financial markets will betoken for investments in IT in the financial services market is hard to predict, but some impact there will assuredly be.
In the meantime, the London Stock Exchange is demonstrating how core IT is to financial sector businesses. Karl Flinders, Computer Weekly's financial correspondent, analyses the significance of the Tradelect platform at the exchange. This emerges as a platform deliberately built for future growth that extends beyond trading volumes to subserve acquisition - such as that of Borsa Italiana. The stock exchange's chief technology officer estimates that Tradelect will make integration of the Italian bourse three times faster.
The platform is one element of a four-year technology programme, and its business case was predicated not just on increased trading volumes and operating cost reduction, but on software agility that, the exchange says, will enable entry into new markets. It offers an exemplary case study of an aggressive investment in IT to drive a business forward.
The financial services sector is also leading on green IT initiatives. We report that Barclays is set to replace more than 10,000 PCs with thin clients, saving £5.2m in costs and reducing carbon emissions by 15,000 tonnes.
In this issue we publish the first of a series of chief information officer profiles that focus on a moment of transformation which propelled their careers forward dramatically. David Lister, formerly CIO at Boots, now finds himself in a City institution - Reuters. It is hard not to see the City as cauldron of opportunity for IT professionals at this turbulent time.